Purpose: To determine the contribution of posterior corneal astigmatism to total corneal astigmatism and the error in estimating total corneal astigmatism from anterior corneal measurements only using a dual-Scheimpflug analyzer.
Setting: Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Design: Case series.
Methods: Total corneal astigmatism was calculated using ray tracing, corneal astigmatism from simulated keratometry, anterior corneal astigmatism, and posterior corneal astigmatism, and the changes with age were analyzed. Vector analysis was used to assess the error produced by estimating total corneal astigmatism from anterior corneal measurements only.
Results: The study analyzed 715 corneas of 435 consecutive patients. The mean magnitude of posterior corneal astigmatism was -0.30 diopter (D). The steep corneal meridian was aligned vertically (60 to 120 degrees) in 51.9% of eyes for the anterior surface and in 86.6% for the posterior surface. With increasing age, the steep anterior corneal meridian tended to change from vertical to horizontal, while the steep posterior corneal meridian did not change. The magnitudes of anterior and posterior corneal astigmatism were correlated when the steeper anterior meridian was aligned vertically but not when it was aligned horizontally. Anterior corneal measurements underestimated total corneal astigmatism by 0.22 @ 180 and exceeded 0.50 D in 5% of eyes.
Conclusions: Ignoring posterior corneal astigmatism may yield incorrect estimation of total corneal astigmatism. Selecting toric intraocular lenses based on anterior corneal measurements could lead to overcorrection in eyes that have with-the-rule astigmatism and undercorrection in eyes that have against-the-rule astigmatism.
Financial disclosure: The authors received research support from Ziemer Group. In addition, Dr. Koch has a financial interest with Alcon Laboratories, Inc., Abbott Medical Optics, Inc., Calhoun Vision, Inc., NuLens, and Optimedica Corp.
Copyright © 2012 ASCRS and ESCRS. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.